Tag Archives: May Day rallies

Evening Thread

Here are a few things I never got around to this week:

• Democratic Senators are asking for a real plan from Gov. Schwarzenegger about how to solve the prison crisis.  AB 900 passed a year ago with the promise of building thousands more beds to address prison overcrowding.  To date not one construction project has begun.  This is a complete shell game, and the courts are likely to act immediately in the face of such incompetence.  Just another reason why trying to build our way out of this problem was such a stupid idea.

• Not only did immigrant’s rights advocates rally in Los Angeles today, they were joined by businesses who want an end to workplace raids.  I actually believe in workplace enforcement to an extent, but business can be a powerful ally in reaching toward a comprehensive solution.  The crowd was smaller this year but I think there’s a more robust coalition for a breakthrough.  Voter mobilization is going to be the key.

• Others have mentioned the new poll numbers on taxes and schools, but I’ll say this – decades of anti-tax rhetoric has succeeded in dislodging the relationship between taxes and services.  People want education and other services to be funded but don’t want to pay for it.  The only way to restore that relationship is to… restore that relationship, by specifically explaining how America is worth paying for and turning the whole issue on its head.  Not a huge revelation, but thought I’d throw it out.

• Home prices continue to fall in LA and Orange County, and foreclosures continue to wreak havoc on the state’s homeowners, including Jose Canseco.

• I thought this was the most interesting study of the week:

It’s often said, “You are what you eat,” but new research suggests that where you eat may have a lot to do with it, as well.

In communities with an abundance of fast-food outlets and convenience stores, researchers have found, obesity and diabetes rates are much higher than in areas where fresh fruit and vegetable markets and full-service grocery stores are easily accessible.

“The implications are really dramatic,” said Harold Goldstein, a study author and executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, based in Davis. “We are living in a junk-food jungle, and not surprisingly, we are seeing rising rates of obesity and diabetes.”

Intuitive, and it’s a chicken-or-the-egg argument.  Convenience stores and fast-food outlets move to neighborhoods where people are more likely to only be able to afford convenience stores and fast food.  However, the researchers claim this holds across socioeconomic strata.  “Food environment” is something we have to think about.  Education would seem to be the key,

• Forgot to link George Skelton’s article on the potential for competing redistricting measures on the ballot.  My position on redistricting is well-known.  Skelton does segue into initiative reform, which is sorely needed.

LAPD: “Our Bad”

You don’t see this kind of a report from a government agency  every day.

In a scathing self-critique, the LAPD on Tuesday blamed the May 1 MacArthur Park melee involving officers, immigration protesters and journalists on a series of fateful decisions by police commanders that escalated hostilities and resulted in a widespread breakdown in discipline and behavior by officers.

The findings, contained in a long-awaited report by top police officials, come as Police Chief William J. Bratton announced that at least 26 officers participating in the incident are under internal investigation and could face discipline for using excessive force.

The report is the latest effort by Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to quell widespread outcry over the incident, in which TV news footage showed officers swinging batons and firing less-than-lethal rounds at journalists as well as immigration rights protesters gathered at the park for an afternoon rally.

The melee left 246 journalists and protesters as well as 18 officers with injuries, and more than 250 legal claims have been filed against the city. Los Angeles County prosecutors and the FBI are continuing to investigate the case.

The LAPD is far more given to whitewash than this.  You actually have to hand it to both Bratton and Villaraigosa so far for talking this straight.  Now comes the hard part.  There has to be real disciplinary action taken against those who decided to take up arms against the protesters.  Individual officers must be held accountable.  Some of the higher-ups, like Deputy Chief Lee Carter, were demoted (he eventually resigned).  And Bratton has accepted responsibility, saying “I, as chief of police, regret deeply that this occurred on my watch.”  But that statement has to have some force behind it.